Not yet gone by lunchtime

  • Phil Goff
Foreign Affairs and Trade

National's indecision and policy changes on nuclear ship visits will leave it without credibility both in the eyes of the New Zealand public and in its relations with Australia and the United States, says Foreign Minister Phil Goff.

"Everyone knows that National wants to have nuclear ships in New Zealand but lacks the courage of its convictions to say so, because overwhelmingly this viewpoint is opposed by New Zealanders," Mr Goff said.

"A recent TV3 poll showed that most New Zealanders believed National 'is not sincere about keeping nuclear ships out'.

"National's latest u-turn will not alter the view that they cannot be trusted on this issue.

"Too many New Zealanders remember 1990 and promises by National in opposition that student fees would go and also the superannuation surtax, 'no ifs, no buts, no maybes'.

"Safely in government, National did the opposite to what it promised before the election.

"Further, National has once again also undermined the confidence of other countries in it, having indicated, privately, that it would change the nuclear ban.

"Just five short months ago, Don Brash promised a senior US Congressional delegation that the ban would be 'gone by lunchtime'.

"Australian Foreign Minister Alexander Downer, in Wellington in May, publicly vented his frustration about National's u-turn on this issue.

"Don Brash has damaged himself, and not just by being exposed as telling the United States one thing in private and another to New Zealanders.

"He has been rolled by his caucus on this issue and has appeared indecisive and duplicitous. In the end he is now trusted by no-one on this issue," Mr Goff said.